Tipperary TD Alan Kelly, Minister for Public Transport and Commuter Affairs, has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs that over 1,000 compensation payments have now been made to turf-cutters affected by the cessation of turf-cutting on 53 raised bog special areas of conservation.
Under the compensation scheme, affected turf-cutters will receive €1,500 per annum for 15 years. In addition, a one-off sign-up bonus of €500 will be paid this year, on completion of a legal agreement between the turf-cutter and the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs. The total financial compensation package over the 15-year period amounts to €23,000, index-linked and tax-free.
Minister Kelly also explained that turf-cutters can choose to relocate to another bog, if available, rather than choosing financial compensation.
“In place of financial compensation, affected turf-cutters can choose to relocate to another bog, if available, where they can continue to cut turf,” he said. “While relocation bogs are being sought, turf-cutters can opt for the financial compensation or a delivery of 15 tonnes of turf to their home.
“More than 2,300 applications for compensation in total have been made to the Department, of these, 676 or 29 per cent have sought relocation to another bog. The remaining applications are for financial compensation.”